During parliament speaker Ali Abdul Aal’s visit to Russia last week, several high-level talks and meetings with Russian officials were held, tackling several issues to enhance ties between the two countries.
Abdul Aal visited the country following an invitation from the chairperson of the Russian Duma, the elected legislative body in Russia. During the visit, which lasted for three days, Abdul Aal urged for the resumption of Russian flights to Egypt, which were brought to a halt following the crash of the Russian A321 aeroplane in Sinai in October 2015.
The parliament speaker said Egypt has already implemented 85% of Russia’s demands on the flight safety recommendations, saying that it is about time flights are resumed back to Egypt, according to the Russian state-run news Sputnik.
Egyptian tourism has been hit hard after the crash of the aeroplane, which killed all 223 on board. Russia, Germany and the United Kingdom also suspended their direct flights to Sharm El-Sheikh’s airport following the crash, citing safety concerns.
However, Russian Duma lawmaker Sergei Gavrilov said it might take up to six months for the flights to Cairo to be fully resumed.
Abdul Aal’s statement contradicted those made by the Russian ministry of transport released earlier in June. Those statements claimed that Egypt has not yet informed Russia about any aviation security measures.
Abdul Aal added that Egypt’s general prosecutor and the minister of civil aviation are due to visit Russia by the end of July to disclose the results of investigations. “I think the investigation into the Russian aeroplane crash case will be closed soon,” he commented.
Among the issues that were touched upon during Abdul Aal’s visit was the joint Egyptian-Russian project of the nuclear power plant station in Dabaa. Also, he reportedly visited a Russian power plant that is similar to the one that is being built in Dabaa.
According to Abdul Aal, the power plant he visited was built by the same company that was assigned to build the Dabaa power plant. He added that this visit was to eradicate any fears Egyptian people have pertaining to the power plant, and also to assure them that it has no negative effects on the humans or the environment whatsoever.
Egypt and Russia signed an agreement in November 2015 in which they agreed that the first Egyptian power plant will be built under the supervision of a Russian company.
Abdul Aal said during his meeting with members of parliament that Egypt is striving to develop bilateral relations between the two countries, and also to widen the field of cooperation.
The chairperson of the Russian Duma added that the high-level cooperation between the two countries is “exceptional”.
Egyptian-Russian bilateral relations have witnessed a boost over the past few years following the signing of several agreements, including military and commercial agreements.